Many people see probation as a suitable alternative to incarceration, but they don’t realize just how difficult it is to meet the requirements of the program. In many cases, individuals will use plea deals to work out an arrangement that enables them to be placed on probation. When they attend their first meeting with the probation officer, they’re provided with a lot of information about what’s acceptable and what isn’t for probationers.
One problem that some have is that they don’t realize just how seriously the court takes deviations from the program. The supervising officer can file a probation violation with the court, and the probationer might not know what to do.
A person who is charged with a probation violation is going to have a bench trial. There aren’t jury trials for probation violations. This means that the person needs to have a solid legal argument to address the claims against them; however, not all probationers facing a violation are provided with an attorney or told that they need one.
The problem is even more complicated for people who are on parole because they are in a more restrictive program and facing having their parole revoked if they are found to have violated the conditions of their release. Sadly, even missing one meeting with a supervising officer can lead to them going back to prison.
Some note that probation and parole aren’t alternatives to incarceration any longer. Instead, they are contributing factors to this country’s mass incarceration. This is a problem that needs to be addressed so that the programs can go back to their intended purpose.
If you are facing a violation charge, make sure you meet with your attorney to find out how to handle it. Failure to have appropriate representation can cause you serious problems.